By now it is not unknown that the University of Dallas prides itself not just on having an engaging and competitive division three sports atmosphere, but also on having its student-athletes excel in their academics off the field as well. There is perhaps no greater example of this than the recent achievement of four women’s lacrosse players who made the IWLS All-Academic Squad in 2017.
“I didn’t realize it, because this is the first year that ILWS has had this postseason award,” attacker Julia Shinkle said of the award. “So I think I was excited that they honored my teammates and I, and I was surprised until I found out about it. I was excited for them, honestly. We have all good students on our team, and that’s something that is important to us doing well on and off the field.”
Shinkle credits both the lessons learned in the classroom and on the lacrosse field for her combined success.
“I think this honors my work in the classroom, but ever since I was younger I’ve been both a student and an athlete, and sports have always taught me a really good work ethic,” Shinkle said. “I guess doing well in the classroom and on the lacrosse field is something that has been important to me, and both require hard work and time management.”
In order to receive the award, recipients must carry a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30 for the 2016-17 academic year.
“I was proud of them, because while juggling athletics work, they were able to keep their studies up,” Head Coach Destinee Johnson said. “As an athlete, it takes a lot, because it takes a lot of hours of their time to maintain that 3.30 GPA. For NCAA, you have to maintain a 2.5 GPA, and to be able to go beyond what the NCAA requires speaks volumes about them. I put on, every two weeks, academic meetings, and if there’s a class that they’re struggling in, we start study hall so that we can get their grades where they need to be if they’re dropping.”
Patty Hahn, who was a midfielder for the team, played in 2016 and 2017, and even though she isn’t with the team anymore, she received the award as well.
“[I miss] The sport itself,” Hahn said. “I miss being able to go out and play. It boils down to the love of the sport. I miss practicing and playing the sport I love. Although I am not on the team any longer, I do take the time to practice the sport in my spare time. I can [also] tell that Coach Johnson is very passionate about the sport, and helping the team meet their full potential.”
Since it is the off season and the fall semester, the award comes at a good time for women’s lacrosse. Megan Graziose, who played in 2017 as a defender, is one of the two players on the team nominated for the award that is in Rome right now.
“I was proud when I received the award,” Graziose said. “The award was very reassuring because it told me I could balance academics and sports.
“I’m lucky that I went to Rome in the fall because it’s the off season, but I do miss the team. I am looking forward to the next time we share the field together and all the memories we will make.”